Nepal

Post-Earthquake Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Measures undertaken by the Government of Nepal

The devastating earthquake of 7.8 in Richter scale that struck the country with its epicenter at Mandre, Barpak VDC-02, Gorkha at 11:56 am on 2072 Baisakh 12 (corresponding to 25 April 2015) and its frequent aftershocks chiefly the two fatal ones dated 26 April and 12 May 2015 have caused an inconceivable loss of lives and properties. Thousands of people have been killed, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands of houses completely destroyed and many people rendered homeless. Many government and public office buildings, historical, cultural and archeological heritages have been destroyed; physical infrastructures including public and private school buildings, bridges, roads, etc. have also been destroyed. The Government has declared the fourteen districts (Gorkha, Kavrepalanchok, Dhading, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindupalchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldunga, Makwanpur, Sindhuli, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur) as the crisis-hit districts and started rescue and relief works. In view of such a large scale of devastation, the Government of Nepal has taken various initiatives for rescue, relief and rehabilitation as well as reconstruction works. They are as follows:

1.Immediate Response: By enforcing the Essential Services Operation Act, 1957, the Government ensured the supply of essential goods and services to the affected region. The Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee (CNDRC) has been coordinating and overseeing all the rescue and relief works. The CNDRC decided to form a Central Command Post (CCP) headed by Home Secretary. Alternative provisional arrangements were made for the smooth delivery of public services related to education, health, justice, security as well as administrative services until public schools, health institutions, courts and other infrastructures of public importance damaged in the earthquake are reconstructed. Similarly, the Ministry of Finance called an emergency meeting with the Ambassadors/representatives of the donor countries in Kathmandu. The ambassadors/representatives of the donor countries assured that they will assist Nepal in every possible way. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly briefed the diplomatic community in Kathmandu on the ongoing rescue and relief operations, and urged for assistance in such hour of great tragedy.

2.Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Measures: The Government constructed temporary safe shelters in sixteen different parts of the valley. A Cabinet-level decision was taken on 30 April 2015 on the various relief measures, some of them were changed/modified from time to time to make them more realistic:

a. Cremation Cost and Assistance to the Family of Victims: Family that has lost its member in the earthquake will get NPR 40,000.00 per dead person as cremation cost, which was increased from previously stated NPR 15,000.00 per person. Additionally, the Government will provide a fixed sum of NPR 100,000.00 to each family that has lost its one or more members (i.e. losing more than one member will not multiply this amount).

b. Temporary Shelters/Rehabilitation of those Rendered Homeless: The Government is committed to ensuring that all the affected population in the crisis-hit districts got tents/tarpaulin and other basic items and making necessary arrangements for resettling them safely. Those who wish to repair their partially damaged houses will get a sum of NPR 25,000.00 per family as maintenance cost. And those who wish to rebuild their houses on their own will get a relief assistance of NPR 200,000.00 plus a concessional loan up to NPR 25,00,000.00 in the valley and NPR 15,00,000.00 outside the valley at just two per cent interest rate under "Earthquake Victim Special Loan" scheme. The Government later decided to provide tin-sheets or NPR 15,000.00 to each affected family for managing a temporary accommodation in view of the coming monsoon. This amount together with all other relief amounts previously provided will be deducted from the relief of NPR 200,000.00 to be provided to the victims later.

c. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan backed by the NRRF: An appropriate plan of land pooling for rehabilitation in the affected areas with adequate facilities will be implemented. Such a plan will ensure the building of earthquake-resistant structures with the use of local materials/resources as well as cost-effective means. The Government has announced to rebuild all the damaged structures of the individuals, the public houses/infrastructures and the heritages devastated by the earthquake in one year, two years and five years respectively. Such a scale of damage caused by the earthquake requires a huge fund. The National Planning Commission (NPC) has recommended a low-cost model of houses to the Government for necessary approval. Construction of houses in large scale as well as the construction of the collapsed government houses and the heritages requires a huge fund. So, the Government has decided to set up a National Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Fund (NRRF) with an initial target of collecting US$ 2 Billion. The Government has already transferred US$ 200.00 Million to the Fund as seed money. The Government has also urged the international community to make generous contributions to the Fund. Similarly, a Post-Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) is being conducted and the amount required for rehabilitation and reconstruction is expected to rise after the detailed assessment. A National Reconstruction Consultation Committee under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister has also been formed to make the reconstruction campaign more effective and coordinated. The Committee had its first meeting on 26 and 27 May 2015.

d. Priority Items: The Government of Nepal issued an indicative list of priority items (that cover shelter, food, hygiene, clothes; drug and surgical items and construction; emergency veterinary medicines, vaccines, disinfectants and feeds; and agricultural nutrients) required in connection with the immediate relief operations. The list may be revised based on the evolving circumstances in the areas affected by the devastation. The last revision to the list was made on 14 May 2015 and was extended until 03 June 2015. The list is transmitted to all Diplomatic Missions, United Nations and its Specialized Agencies and other International Organizations based in Kathmandu for ready reference.

e. Injured in the Earthquake: The Government initially decided to provide NPR 25,000.00 per injured person to the hospitals that are providing treatment facilities to the people injured in the earthquake. The Government will also provide money to the hospitals through the Ministry of Health and Population for treating more serious injuries. Later on, the Government decided to provide free-of-cost treatment facility for all the people injured in the earthquake. Similarly, the Government also decided to provide, as per a criterion to be worked out, additional relief to those left disabled due to the devastation.

f. Information Dissemination: The Government has effectively disseminated, through different mediums of communication, all types of information for the safety, security and well-being of its citizens. The Government has warned that no one can predict the occurrences of earthquake, and therefore, has asked not to follow any rumor of earthquake prediction by some unscrupulous agents. Information on minimizing losses during the time and after earthquakes, safety tips, relief/rehabilitation measures taken by the Government, health and hygiene instructions, etc. is being constantly circulated. The websites of the Government agencies including those of the Nepalese missions abroad are now replete with the earthquake-related information, and a dedicated portal http://www.drrportal.gov.np has been active to provide all types of information.

3.Data Collection: With a view to collecting data on the loss of lives/properties with all vital details, the Government has sent various teams to the affected districts. For maintaining uniformity of the data and also to manage the teams, the Guidelines for the Teams to be Deployed in the Earthquake-affected Areas, 2015, was prepared and enforced. The data will be utilized for effective relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction works. These teams are still in the field and the reports are expected to be submitted soon.

4.International Donors' Conference: The Government of Nepal will organize an International Donors' Conference on post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation works, after completing a comprehensive need assessment, in Kathmandu on 25 June 2015. A preparatory committee has also been formed recently with the Finance Minister as the coordinator. A main agenda of the Conference will be garnering donors' support to the Government's plan for the post-earthquake rehabilitation and reconstruction.

5.Call for Contributions to PMDRF: The Government has advised all the contributors (countries, organizations and individuals) both at home and abroad to contribute to the Prime Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (PMDRF) to reach out to the real victims of the earthquake. The Government is committed to making the optimum utilizations of the fund received. Similarly an e-portal to facilitate online transfer of money (through Visa/Master Card) to the Fund has been created for the ease of contributors. As of 31 May 2015, NPR 4,210,032,106.00 has been collected including NPR 745891.00 through online transfers.

6.Resolution Motion of the CA-LP and the Government's Response: Upon the recommendation of the Government, the Rt. Hon. President called for a special session of the House on 07 May 2015. The Assembly-Legislature Parliament of Nepal passed a 27-point resolution on 13 May 2015 directing the Government to effectively undertake the relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation works. To implement the instructions, the Government has prepared and has put into effect the Integrated Action Plan for Post-Earthquakes Response and Recovery, 2072. It has altogether forty actions to be completed in a coordinated manner. Some important ones are as follows:

  • Constructing temporary emergency shelters for the earthquake affected senior citizens, single women, diseased, pregnant and new mothers, disabled, etc.

  • Providing the children who have lost their guardians/parents in the earthquake and those who are rendered homeless with shelters and free education.

  • Classifying the affected population for the ease of providing them with necessary facilities.

  • Making necessary arrangements for providing the affected farmers with free of cost seeds and subsidies for fertilizers. Also exempt the farmers in the affected regions from taxes.

  • Making a review of the National Building Code, 2060 and ensure its effective enforcement.

  • Undertaking a review of the land-use policy.

  • Dismantling the cracked structures that pose dangers. Also, dismantling the structures at the cost of the owners who built the houses by violating the building codes.

  • Building a memorial for those who have lost their lives in the earthquake. Recognizing and rewarding the public servants, organizations and individuals who have done praiseworthy jobs.

7.Deployment of Youth Volunteers: There is a plan to deploy youth volunteers to assist in rescue, relief and rehabilitations works. A technical volunteers programme will also be launched. The Ministry of Youths and Sports has announced that at least 500 to maximum of 50,000 youth volunteers will be sent to each affected district.

8.Earthquake Victim Identity Card: Necessary arrangements are underway to issue “Earthquake Victims’ Family Identity Card" to each family with details of damages suffered by them recorded on it which will be used as a basis to provide facilities by the State.

9.Nepalese Missions Abroad: The Government instructed all the Nepalese missions abroad to 1. Open an account for the ease of contributors and send the collected amount periodically to the PMDRF 2. Inform the contributors about the online facility to make generous contributions through their VISA/MASTER Cards, and 3. Make an appeal to contribute to the Government's plan for post-earthquake rehabilitation and reconstruction through NRRF. The missions abroad have been sending the collected amounts to the PMDRF, and the total amount deposited through the missions as of 01 June 2015 is NPR 662061998.78.